Category Archives: 1966 crisis

Museveni will not be the 1st to threaten to Cut off Mengo’s head

1/2 If at all YK Museveni expressed intentions of cutting off Mmengo’s head (which, typical of UAH smartness is being read as cutting off RM Mutebi’s head), he would not have been the first to do so, and in all certainty, he will not be the last.
2/2 Just a historical record of British plans for a coup d’etat (chopping off the head) in 1953.  The term coup d’etat is not mine: it is used on page 2 of the document.   Note the similarity in the patterns of today’s and 1953 Mmengo intransigence:

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto


Observer report concocted Museveni comments to incite tribal divisions


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Observer report concocted Museveni   comments to incite tribal divisions

June 15th, 2010

Please refer to The Observer Report of Monday June 14th, 2010 under the headline “Museveni to Mengo: I’ll cut off your head,” by Edward Ssekika and the subsequent use of the photograph of the President and the Kabaka of Buganda.

The report claimed that the President accused the Kabaka of Buganda of attempting to divide Ugandans along ethnic lines and that he said that if the Kingdom crosses its boundaries and interferes with his roles, he will chop off his head with no case to answer.

There was nowhere in the President’s address to the people of Bunyoro did he mention Mengo, or the Kabaka of Buganda or anything to do with the Kingdom of Buganda. The complete recording of the President’s address is available to the public, for those who are interested in the truth.

The paper obviously wanted to ride on tensions between the Central government and Buganda so as to turn a colourful and respectable ceremony of the Banyoro into a platform for inciting tribal divisions. The paper also chose to totally ignore the focus of the celebrations in Hoima, where hundreds of thousands of people had gathered to mark the 16th anniversary (Empango) coronation of Omukama Solomon Gafabusa Iguru to dwell on issues to do with Buganda, something that is totally insulting to the people of Bunyoro. Of all the media institutions that were represented in Bunyoro on this day, it is only The Observer that had a completely different version of reports.

It has been a deliberate policy and practice for The Observer newspaper to always malign the person of the President using concocted reports. While the paper has a right to support whatever political or cultural interests it feels like, it is fair journalism practice to declare its interests to the public and to give the President a fair hearing by being impartial in its reports about him and the institution of State House if it chooses to make such reports.

The President has been a strong advocate of cultural institutions and worked tirelessly for their return. His argument then and now has been that if the traditional leaders focused on their roles and responsibilities without interfering into politics, they can easily co-exist and offer alternative leadership roles to develop the country. The President has always said cultural institutions can work well with modern governments if handled well and if each played their roles according to the constitution of the Republic of Uganda.

In Hoima, the President likened this role to several people each having his lubimbi (garden) to cultivate alongside each other – Cultural leaders, religious leaders, politicians etc. He said if suddenly one of these abandoned his lubimbi and crossed into another’s, they can easily have their heads cut off and become casualities with no case to answer. He also likened this to religious leaders who have a specific role in the society, saying there are many people who are religious but not all of them are allowed to perform baptism roles. He emphasized the importance of unity and urged the traditional leaders to support government’s Prosperity for All programme to help their people fight poverty from their homes.

Whatever the intensions and purposes of The Observer report, it is unacceptable for them to whip up tribal divisions at a time when our country needs unity and prosperity.

Can M7 cut off Buganda’s head as he has threatened when he never created it


Can one destroy what one never made or has never created? One may pretennd to but only for purposes of self-satisfaction.   Read more views on the “Cutting off” bellow:

Summary: That M7 threatens to “cut” off Buganda or to cut it to size is a slogan anti-Buganda politicians have voiced all along, from the 50’s. This is done mainly to mebelise ant-ganda feelings from the rest of Uganda. But, most of those who have done so gave come, found Buganda and left her in place. You cannot remove Buganda from Uganda and she remains Uganda. That is like removing the cog from the wheel.

1/7. The main aim M7 threatens Buganda and especially Mmengo is because he wants to look democratic and yet, fears the mobelisation capabilities of Mmengo hence his threats (himself and via Karooro w/o Stanslas Okurut): “We shall reach Buganda without Mmengo”. If my means “abolishing” the Kabakaship, one can call these the tantrums of a spoilt child.

M7 cannot abolish kingdoms from the peoples’ hearts. What he can do, like AMO before him, is constrain them in space and time, as M7 is already doing.

2/7. Cut ‘off” Buganda would mean “taking the cog from the wheel. Want an example? Look at the former USSR: Article 5 of the Soviet Constitution allowed Republics to “leave the Union”, if they so wished.

3/7. The thought of the framers of the constitution, back in 1921, were of course thinking of the poor peripheral republics in Central Asia, the Caucasus, etc.

4/7. But check what one mad man Yeltsin, a Russian tribalist (sorry, Bazungu cannot be tribalists, so we say “nationalist”) decides to take away ‘Mother Russia’  from the Union, invoking article 15 of the constitution. The rest is history.

5/7. In other words, Buganda can only be destroyed from inside and that is the method M7 is going to try, by electing a Katikiro, for example, not answerable to the Kabaka but to him {via the Regional Tier) and by bribing many Baganda with ‘office’.

6/7. Cutting off Buganda: What M7 really means is not that he will wipe Buganda from the project that is Uganda. He only wants to become Kabaka (in charge of Baganda) and this, he can do on the surface but not in people’s hearts.

7/7. Conclusion: Mt believes that by giving every sib-clan a district, he will have managed to destroy Uganda (and therefore Buganda) but he can not, especially in the case of the later, as the Kabakaship is a hurdle. In other words, M7 does not have Yelstsin’s luck on his side. He is only drunk with power and may soon behave like King Canute [of England], who thought he could control natural phenomena like the flow of tides. M7 too thinks he can control the thinking of people. No way.

Christopher Muwanga,



Former Katikkiros leading Mengo back to 1966 crisis


Former Katikkiros leading Mengo back to 1966 crisis

By Aisha Nankya  (email the author)

Posted Friday, June 11 2010 at 00:00

The news of the two former Buganda Katikkiros (premiers) Joseph Mulwanyamuli Ssemwogerere and Dan Muliika declaring their support for the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC), a loose grouping of some opposition parties planning to field a single presidential candidate next year, leaves a lot to be desired.

The move justifies the saying that history does not repeat itself but it’s the [people] that repeat history. Mengo has a habit of always coming in the way of the Democratic Party (DP), make alliances based on selfishness and impulse and later crying foul. Yet it is the DP that has aways stood with Mengo during the hard times.
It was Mengo, for instance, who played a big role in blocking Ben Kiwanuka, a Muganda, from becoming Uganda’s Prime Minister simply because he was a Catholic. Today, they are standing in the way of Nobert Mao simply because he is a non-Muganda. What criteria did they use to choose the IPC to champion Buganda’s interests?

The two former Katikkiros who will obviously be representing Mengo interests in this move, admitted to being novices in politics. Secondly, they are offering blanket support on behalf of Buganda without even setting up principles or fully understanding the objectives of the individual political parties that comprise IPC. This is evidenced by Muliika’s appeal to the IPC to publish its manifesto, so they can know what they stand for. Can you imagine? This shows that they offered blanket support without even knowing what they are supporting. To quote DP president Nobert Mao, how can one enter a taxi without knowing its destination?

Mengo’s interests are permanent but how can one peg them on the removal of President Museveni? How can you put all your eggs in one basket? It is also surprising that the duo are both retired but have now come up to determine our destiny. Will they, for instance, appropriately accommodate the interest of the youth? Have they widely consulted and have they been endorsed to represented us? Can they tell us the difference between FDC’s Kizza Besigye, who has a high chance of becoming IPC flag bearer and President Museveni? How can you put Mengo and the Kabakaship on the line? Did they think of the other Kabaka’s subjects in the DP, NRM and other political parties? How can you alienate them? Where will Mengo run to if Besigye, whom the electorate has rejected twice, loses the third time?

Not long ago, Mulwanyamuli negotiated the Regional Tier that was to create an office of Katikkiro, by-passing Mengo. This was rejected by the Lukiiko of course but it is still on the table, waiting to be implemented. Muliika was later sacked as well for openly using the post of Katikkiro to campaign for FDC, among others. The two extremes coming together is suspect.

UPC’s Olara Otunnu is part of this cooperation but they strategically keep him away whenever they make appearances in Buganda. In effect the two former Katikkiro’s have not only allied with Besigye who has no political base in his home town Rukungiri and the entire western Uganda but with UPC as well, a party that abolished the kingdom and masterminded the killings in Luweero. How different is this move from the infamous UPC/KY alliance of 1966?

Mengo should strongly and clearly distance itself from the duo because they are putting all Baganda interests at stake. You can always ignore advice but cannot stop the consequences.
Ms Nankya is a social worker in London, United Kingdom


Before I give you my next piece on the beginnings of the 1966 crisis, allow me to first, fast-forward to 1965 and furnish you you with the record of the parliamentary debate on the security situation in Buganda.  That debate raged on for several weeks starting from 12the March 1965 as you can see below.
The debate starts from from P.1383 (see “MOTION”).  This is the substance of the submission by the mover of the motion, Mr Rwamwaro.  The rest of the debate will follow in due course….

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto





1/8 Initial troubles centred on the financial position of Buganda, leading to protracted wrangles between Entebbe and Mmengo over the interpretation of Article 1 of schedule 9 of the 1962 constitution (See pp. 173-4 1962 Constitution at compatriotto,  The Central government sought to deduct from its grants to Mmengo additional revenue accruing to Buganda from graduated tax on non-Africans, rents received from public land, leases to urban authorities etc.
2/8 Earlier on, the Relationship Commission (Munster Commission) had laid out the means through which the central government would maintain firm financial discipline over local authorities but curiously, Mmengo did not think that those stipulations applied to Buganda insisting that its relationship with the centre was special and different from that of other local authorities.  This (mistaken) view was largely informed by the leverage Buganda had over the UPC government, having eased it into power through the UPC-KY alliance.  In spite of that, though, AM Obote is remembered to have insisted that, “we refuse to sign a blank cheque to the Buganda Government”.
3/8 For all its feeling of being special, Buganda was however not assisted by the never-ending financial misdemeanours by the Michael Kintu ministry (Kintu was the Katiikiro until he was deposed in 1964 after Buganda lost in the referendum over the “lost counties”).  While Buganda had £1 million in its coffers by the end of 1958, this had dwindled to a mere £465,000 in 1960.  In 1963, it was in the red by £226,863.
4/8 In 1965, the Planning Commission of the Buganda Government warned that the Kabaka’s government was on the brink of bankruptcy and that the ministers whose nepotism had reached new limits were the worst offenders.  The report also sent out danger signs on the state of morale of the Buganda civil service which it warned, had reached a very low ebb.  Another report of a committee led by a Makerere academic, DP Ghai warned that the feeble control by the central government on public expenditure in the kingdom had resulted in a perilous financial situation at Mmengo.
5/8 In 1965, Buganda finances were already in a considerable overdraft but even then, Mmengo went ahead to craft a budget that right from conception, suffered a deficit of £430,000, all this on top of a sum of £200,000 loaned internally to key officials at Mmengo for personal use.
6/8 Through all this, the services that had been transferred to the Buganda government as a federal authority were being heavily subsidised by the central government.  Even in the face of that reality and evidence of financial indiscipline, Mmengo wanted the payer of the piper not to have anything to do with calling the tune: the Kabaka Government insisted that in spite of Central government subsidies, Mmengo was entitled to spend according to its own policies and legislation.  Entebbe on the other had insisted that it was not obliged to subsidise schemes over which it had no control, particularly in light of reports of serious financial impropriety on the part of the Kabaka Government.
7/8 All this tussling was happening against the backdrop of the pending resolution of the thorny question of the “lost counties” (Buyaga and Bugangaizi) of Bunyoro; which the 1961 Constitutional Conference, attended by Buganda, was supposed to be resolved by a referendum to be held by the central government on a convenient date not earlier than two years after independence, i.e., after 8th October 1964.
8/8 Thus the stage was set for a serious political stalemate between Entebbe and Mmengo……

Blocking the Kabaka from visiting Kayunga was Illegal according to constitution


submitted by william kituuka


Protection of freedom of conscience, expression, movement, religion, assembly and association.

(1) Every person shall have the right to—
(a) freedom of speech and expression which shall include freedom of the press and other media;
(b) freedom of thought, conscience and belief which shall include academic freedom in institutions of learning;
(c) freedom to practise any religion and manifest such practice which shall include the right to belong to and participate in the practices of any religious body or organisation in a manner consistent with this Constitution;
(d) freedom to assemble and to demonstrate together with others peacefully and unarmed and to petition; and
(e) freedom of association which shall include the freedom to form and join associations or unions, including trade unions and political and other civic organisations.

(2) Every Ugandan shall have the right—
(a) to move freely throughout Uganda and to reside and settle in any part of Uganda;
(b) to enter, leave and return to, Uganda; and
(c) to a passport or other travel document.

OK! How do we reconcile these provisions, specifically, Article 29 (2)(a) with the recent blocking of Kabaka Ronald Mutebi’s visit to Kayunga?

And will Kayihuraa’s Police Force ever allow us to exercise the freedom in Article 29(1)(d) without invoking the infamous Police Act or some obscure municipal provision?

William Bogere

UAH forumist

Buganda must take Otafiire remarks seriously


All responsible Bangada and indeed Ugandans must consider comments by Trade and Industry Minister Mj. Gen Kahinda Otafiire as official government policy.
Not long ago, the controversial Minister warned Baganda that they have “betrayed Museveni” … who “would kill Mengo if he chose to do so”.  ……. Were Museveni to break Mengo’s legs, the legs would be so badly broken to ever be repaired by any other government. ………..  What other governments would do in that regard is to completely remove the legs”.    Would that not cost NRM votes in Buganda?  “…. Well that is democracy, but will that make the other person win?”
These are powerful statement made by no ordinary man.  Mj. General Kahinda Otafiire is a member of the Military command that was against the restoration of Buganda Kingdom.  A Muganda hater by character, Minister of Trade and Industry and a so called historical of the ruling National Resistance Movement.  He is also a Presidential Advisor on whatever affairs.  It would be therefore scandalous to dismiss his remarks.
In my opinion, the NRM regime is already pounding the legs of Mengo and will soon crack her legs in a manner similar to cracking a dry cockroach unless Baganda unite and start thinking and acting strategically.  The NRM knows that their actions would not cost votes because it is in Buganda that the NRM can rig votes more efficiently.  By declaring that the other party would not win, Otafiire meant that Buganda has no say in her own affairs.
Look at the way the state foiled the Kabaka’s visit to Nakasongola and Kayunga.  The creation of Ssabanyala, SSsabakooki, Sabarulli, Ssabamooli and God knows who will come up next.  The Land bill has passed through parliament, the regional tier bill is on the way and the Kampala bill will take huge chunks of land away from Buganda.  During the recent riots, the army killed 31 dissenting mainly Banganda, imprisoned 700 more and the crackdown is still continuing.  Buganda, the Kabaka and the people of Bugnada are firm “Captives” according to Beti Kamya the MP for Lubaga North.  President Museveni has already closed the Kingdom’s CBS radio station, banned the Buganda Anthem from radio stations and is curtailing the publicity of the image of the Kabaka. 

Last year, district government officials were instructed to stop using the name ‘Buganda’ and instead refer to the Kingdom as the ‘Central Region’.  Based on the above account, unless Otafiire and his NRMO anti-Buganda government are stopped, Buganda as we know it may not be there in the next 3 years.  According to one Buganda hater at Ugandans at Heat, a popular Ugandan internet chat room, “Buganda is Bugending!”.   Of what use is a Buganda that is being chopped away piece by piece and a Kabaka whose legs have been broken he cannot move freely within his kingdom?, asked another.
Considering the above events, the legs of Mengo are already being pounded and will soon be cut off.  What we should be doing is ensure that we can salvage something and maintain at least some movement, continue the physiotherapy and hope that with time we can recover.
To recover  we need a strategic thinking team in Mengo.  The current leadership at mengo is inept and incompetent when it comes to articulating and strategically advancing the interests of Buganda.  They are easily picked upon and wronged by Museveni’s political machine.  Sometimes Mengo Administrators shoot their own foot.
The Katikiiro is demobilizing Buganda nationalism and has a conflict of interest with state house.  He is telling Baganda not to die for their country.  Mengo was tricked into disowning Husain Kyanjo, a warrior of Buganda.  Jolly Lutaya called Baganda sons and daughters of Museveni . Mengo has been out maneuvered, outsmarted and outplayed by Yoweri Museveni’s clever and ruthless political machine.  Museveni has made them look incapable of even running the federal system we cherish. 

“If Mengo cannot respond to Kyanjo’s remarks in a manner that will not be quoted as disowning the brave MP, then how will they manage to convince NRM MP’s not to vote for the regional tier bill or Kampala Bill without making their party disown them?” asked John Bosco Musisi, a prominent Muganda from Australia. 

“We are not sons and daughters of Yoweri Museveni”, responded another Muganda to reckless comments by Jolly Lutaya at the funeral of the late Bishop Ddungu.  “We are offspring’s of Kintu and now sons and daughters of Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II”
“How can a Katikiiro stand up at a party of Baganda workers paid for by the Kabaka of Buganda and tell his audience that ‘Woliggwa wendigwa is a wrong philosophy… how dare he insult Baganda to that extent?”,  asked Moses Mukiibi, a worker in Katwe a surburb of Kampala.  “How can people uttering such reckless statements be negotiating on our behalf? … no wonder they’re being outwitted by the government side”, Moses continued.
The Katikiiro has been wrong on the sh. 2 billion loan from the central government, wrong on negotiations with central government, wrong on his decision to hurl the Kabaka into a meeting with Museveni and now that the government has set tough conditions to re-open CBS, the Katikiiro was wrong to inform the public that the station would open by the end of December!! 

Clearly we have the wrong team, in the wrong place and serving the wrong purpose.  We need strategic thinkers in Mengo.  People who can compete on the political scene without looking political but advancing a political goal.  Surely with all their good intentions,  this job cannot be done by Katikiiro Walusimbi, Peter Mayega and Mulwanyamuli.   It is therefore imperative that Dan Muliika is returned as Katikiiro with a new administration in respect of the wishes of the people.  There isn’t any other person who can unit, rally and strategically position Buganda in this crucial period as we descent into the 2011 general elections.  It would be a disaster of hurricane Andrew proportions to leave the current leadership in control of affairs at Mengo.
We don’t advocate for war or a shouting match with the central government.  We just want to be sure that the people working on our behalf are genuine and competent advocates.
That mengo decided to bring about CBS radio as an issue  at the burial of Bishop Ddungu was disrespect to the deceased who was a strong Federal advocate.  CBSfm radio is not in anyway part of Ebyaffe and should never have been brought up.  Furthermore, the Central Civic Education Committee led by Betty Nambooze has not done any work since May of last year.  This can only happen because the leaders denied it funds.  No wonder the land bill passed.  

Buganda belongs to us, our children and grandchildren.  We must be prepared to die for it, to build it and hand it over to our future generations.  That is why I take Otafiire’s remarks SERIOUSLY and want fundamental changes in Mengo.
Michael Senyonjo
Political Strategist Analyst, London UK

Buganda’s fight is for ‘all’ Ugandans

UGANDA’S 60-YEAR CONFLICT (PART 6b): Buganda’s fight is for ‘all’ Ugandans Print E-mail
Written by Kirungi Fideri
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 21:16

Prof. Mahmood Mamdani

MAHMOOD MAMDANI is a professor of Government at Columbia University in the United States. He previously taught at Makerere University and has written a number of books on Uganda’s politics and society. KIRUNGI FIDERI asked him how he sees the current stand-off between Buganda Kingdom and the government of President Yoweri Museveni:

Were you surprised by the hard line stance taken by the Ugandan government and Buganda Kingdom that resulted in the September riots?

One needs to be clear about the background, at least as regards two issues. The first issue is what promises, if any, were made during the years of the guerrilla struggle in the Luwero Triangle. It is in everybody’s interest that the relevant documentation be made public and inform the public discourse on this question.
Second, it seems that the decision by the NRM to recognise “cultural” as opposed to political leaders in different parts of Uganda, whether “kingdoms” or not, was made more in the nature of a compromise than as a principled conclusion to a public discussion of an important issue.
So far as we know, the key discussion was limited to the upper echelons of the NRA; even there, there does not seem to have been either unanimous or even an overwhelming majority in favour of it. Recent statements in the press suggest that an opposing view argued that a “cultural” recognition will not solve the problem but will instead strengthen demands for a “political” recognition. This view seems to have been vindicated by subsequent developments. This is why no one should have been surprised by the stand-off between the Uganda Government and the Buganda Kingdom that culminated in the riots.

Do you see events of 2009, including stopping the Kabaka from visiting parts of his kingdom, the passing of the Land Bill despite Buganda’s opposition, and the closure of CBS, the kingdom’s radio station, as an emergence of a new conflict between Buganda and the central government, or the continuation of an old conflict since the colonial times?

There are elements of both the old and the new in the present situation. The old element is the demand for federo.  The new element is defined by the overall situation, which is today very different from what it was in 1966.
First, whereas Buganda was politically isolated during the 1966 crisis, it is the reverse today, with the central government facing political isolation. Rather than detracting from the unity of Uganda, Buganda is today seen to be providing an effective challenge to an unhealthy concentration of power in presidential hands. Most Ugandans understand this as a democratic challenge, and not an ethnic one. This is why, unlike in 1966, today the Kabaka would be enthusiastically welcomed in all parts of Uganda were he to visit any of these.
Second, Buganda’s own understanding of federo is evolving, as seems clear from the discussion around it. It is no-longer seen as a privileged demand arising from Buganda’s specific history and relationship to the colonial government but as a constitutional demand of relevance to the entire country. Nor is federo identified exclusively with the monarchy but with whatever form of government should be supported by the population in the local constituent unit.
The final and most interesting part of the discussion is the understanding that Buganda is not fighting for a “cultural” arrangement but a “political” arrangement, one where the monarchy in one part of the country does not have to be at the expense of democracy in the whole of it.
Some of the statements I have read from representatives of the Buganda government cite examples of Malaysia, or even England, suggesting that we may be better off dropping the language of “cultural” heads and adopting the explicitly political language of “constitutional” heads whose justification is “historical” and whose powers are constitutionally defined and limited as part of an overall democratic setup.

What do you consider to be at the heart of the conflict then?

Once we unpack the longer term issues at the heart of the conflict, we should be able to come closer to understanding possible ways to solve it. The big issue is that of unitary versus federal government.
Nationalist governments on the morrow of independence were almost unanimously in favour of republicanism and unitary government. They saw republicanism as an alternative to monarchy and championed unitary government as an alternative to ethnically-driven demands for a federal structure. Today, there is a growing sense that this was only half the story.
If unitary government captured the particular sensitivity of a people that unity was essential to defend a newly [won] independence in an era of imperial domination, over a half century of independence has made us conscious of the other half of the story: the unanticipated outcome was that unitary government has turned into an armed fist inside the country, undermining hard won democratic freedoms.
Just think of how, one after another, different political oppositions coming from different parts of the country, shared one characteristic in common: they all spoke the language of democracy when in opposition and then sacrificed democratic freedoms at the alter of national unity after coming to power, always claiming they and no one else had the right to define what that national unity stood for. Not surprisingly, national unity in time became a code word for an executive dictatorship.
A half century of independence has clarified the nature of the problem, that neither parliament nor the courts have been effective in curbing the concentration of power around the executive branch of government. If we recognise that the force of the federo argument today derives from a widespread consciousness of the need for constitutionally effective ways of checking the concentration of power in the executive – without weakening the government of the day internationally – and not from the particular conflict between Buganda and the centre, we shall be in a better position to solve it.

Have President Museveni and Kabaka Mutebi got anything to do with the conflict, or we would have witnessed similar events with a different president and a different king?

While I have underlined the fact that the conflict arises from a general tension in our post-independence political arrangements, it would be stupid to deny that the personalities of President Museveni and Kabaka Mutebi have something to do with it. There is little doubt that both are strong personalities and it will do the country little good to continue to let this issue be defined by an ongoing encounter between two strong personalities. The role of institutions and of the political process is precisely to get us out of such a predicament.

Is Buganda’s demand for federo within a Ugandan state politically viable?

The answer to this will depend entirely on how we address the relationship between federo and democracy.
At the heart of this is the question of citizenship. Uganda as a country is not an ethnic patchwork where different parts of the country are populated by different ethnic groups. This may have been a historical fact. But the contemporary fact is that, after decades of migration, including migrant labour, the population in most parts of the country is multi-ethnic.
For example, whereas there is no agreement on the exact figure, all experts are agreed that a substantial part of the population in Buganda is made up of migrants.
In such a situation, we need to define the basis of political rights clearly. If your political rights depend on your home, then the question that follows is: where is your political home, where your ancestors came from or where you live and your children are born?
Where is [Foreign Affairs Minister Sam] Kutesa’s home, in Ankole or in Buganda? Or, for that matter, where is Mamdani’s home, in India or in Buganda?

Who will be the winner and who will be the loser?

We need to recognise that the question we face is not one that narrowly concerns Buganda or, even less, just the establishment in Mengo and in Kampala. We need to appreciate that much more is at stake in this conflict. If we define the winner and loser narrowly in terms of individual personalities, then we the people are sure to lose. But if we appreciate the broader significance of the conflict, we can define the key issues and make them the focus of a broader, national discussion that goes beyond president, parliament and political parties.

If you were Museveni’s and Mutebi’s adviser, what would you tell them to do to end the conflict for good?

I would ask them to realise that how they deal with this issue is going to affect the political lives of Ugandans for a long time to come. For that very reason, it will define their long-term political legacy in the history of Uganda. My advice will be for them to initiate a national discussion without abandoning the responsibility of leadership.

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Will Buganda ever get federo?

UGANDA’s 60 YEAR OLD CONFLICT(PART 6a): Will Buganda ever get federo? Print E-mail
Written by Michael Mubangizi
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 21:21
Why Mengo rejected Regional Tier

This is the last part of our series on the long-running dispute between Buganda Kingdom and Uganda’s central governments, right from the colonial times. MICHAEL MUBANGIZI asks whether the conflict can be solved:

If blocking the Kabaka from visiting Kayunga, a part of his Buganda Kingdom, sparked off the deadly September 2009 riots, the confrontation had been brewing for years.

Former Mengo minister, Peter Mulira, says cracks in the government-Buganda relationship started forming in 2005 when Mengo rejected the Regional Tier deal they had earlier struck with the government.
It is the same year that Mulira resigned as a minister in the Mengo government, after nearly 15 years of service to the kingdom.
Mulira had been Kabaka’s minister of Heritage and Culture, Industries, Protocol, and Local Government.
He was, therefore, privy to the monarch’s dealings with the central government, including talks in which Mengo agreed to the Regional Tier.

“I was part of the decision-making, so I can’t now say that I was wrong. I can’t go against what we agreed upon in the 15 years. There is nothing that they agreed upon to which we didn’t agree to in advance as the [Mengo] executive,” he says, referring to the Mengo negotiating team.
On July 25, 2004, the central government and Buganda Kingdom started talks that resulted in an agreement on the form of regional government for Buganda.
Led by then Katikkiro (Buganda Prime Minister), Joseph Mulwanyamuli Ssemwogerere, the Mengo team comprised John Katende (then Attorney General), Apolo Makubuya (then minister of Royal Treasury, now Attorney General) and Charles Peter Mayiga (Buganda spokesman and minister for Cabinet Affairs).

Others were Apollonia Mugumbya (then minister of Gender and Community Development), Prince David Wassajja, Ndugwa Grace Ssemakula and Mbazira Frank Kisaala (then Chairman Clan Heads Council).
The government team comprised the Prime Minister, Prof. Apolo Nsibambi, and ministers Amama Mbabazi, Crispus Kiyonga, Kirunda Kivejinja and Janat Mukwaya.
Others were Prof. Ssemakula Kiwanuka (then a minister), Moses Kigongo (NRM Vice Chairman), Kintu Musoke (former Prime Minister), Lucien Tibaruha (former Solicitor General) and presidential aides Moses Byaruhanga, Fox Odoi and Amelia Kyambadde.

Mengo makes U-turn

So why did Mengo make an about-turn on the Regional Tier deal, which is now one of the major points of contention with the government?
Mulira insists that I get the answer from Mengo publicist Charles Peter Mayiga’s recently published book, King on the Throne.
Mulira, a lawyer, however, adds: “It is nonsensical to reject the Regional Tier because federalism itself thrives on regional governments or tiers.”
He cites India, Austria and Canada, saying that their federalism evolved from the regional governments.

In his 422-page book, King on the Throne, Mayiga says the rejection of the Regional Tier arose from protests against the deal by some sections of Baganda.
“The Mengo team found itself going on the defensive as they tried hard to explain the positive aspects of the regional tier administration that was agreed upon following the talks. Two months after the Lukiiko session, which approved the deal with Museveni, it became clear that all wasn’t well,” he writes.
Mayiga singles out a section of clan heads who “rose up in earnest to oppose the understanding that Katikkiro Ssemwogerere’s team had managed to wrestle from the NRM.”
These, he adds, later demanded a meeting with the Kabaka.

“They sought lawyers and political figures who were opposed to the rule of Yoweri Museveni who advised them to push for the rejection of the regional tier,” he writes.
“People like the late Abubaker Kakyaama Mayanja, Godfrey S. Lule, the late Sulaiman Kiggundu who was a former governor of the Bank of Uganda and chairman of Col. (Rtd) Dr. Kizza Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) political party were quite instrumental in this respect,” he adds.
Clan heads and county chiefs, Mayiga says, met the Kabaka and later President Museveni to voice their opposition to the Regional Tier provisions, including having an elected Katikkiro.
Mayiga concludes that opposition to the Regional Tier was motivated by selfish motives.

“The neo-conservatives, the politicians opposed to Museveni’s rule – for any other reasons besides his sluggishness towards resolving the Buganda question – and others who didn’t want Joseph Mulwanyammuli Ssemwogerere and his team to take acclaim for going a long way towards solving this complex issue, ganged up and took a firm grip on Mengo and wedged a fierce campaign against the ‘regional tier’,” he writes, adding that members of Ssemwogere’s team were branded traitors.
Mayiga’s revelations could be seen as a vindication of President Museveni’s claims that Mengo is pursuing an opposition political agenda.

Powerful Lukiiko

Like in 1966 and earlier in 1953, Mulira says that the present fight is a “struggle between the Lukiiko and central government.”
He argues that the Lukiiko was wrong to bar the Kabaka from negotiating with President Museveni, saying that it is not without precedent.
“That is a threat to the Kabakaship. In effect, they are criticising the Kabaka that he made a mistake in meeting the President. They are breaching our cultural norms because if he can be criticised, then he becomes one of us.”
Makerere University History professor, Fred Tanga Odoi, agrees that the Lukiiko is partly to blame for the current confrontation.

“The Lukiiko now appears to be more powerful than the Kabaka…They are so rigid even where the Kabaka seems to be flexible,” he says.
So how will the tussle end? Mulira rules out a repeat of the 1966 crisis, when Kabaka Edward Mutesa was forced into exile following an attack on his palace.
“I am sure good sense is going to prevail. People will reflect on what is best for this country.”

His hope is premised on the conduct of Kabaka Mutebi and President Museveni.
“Once the two agree, it is possible for the rest to follow. We the Baganda look at the Kabaka as the last resort. He has the final say and influence over his people. The President also has influence over Baganda politicians.”


Ugandan academic and professor of Government at Columbia University, Mahmood Mamdani, says that the demand for federo should be seen as a demand for democratic governance, and therefore not a Buganda, but a Uganda issue.

“If we recognise that the force of the federo argument today derives from a widespread consciousness of the need for constitutionally effective ways of checking the concentration of power in the executive – without weakening the government of the day internationally – and not from the particular conflict between Buganda and the centre, we shall be in a better position to solve it,” he says (See full interview on next page).

The head of Makerere University’s Political Science Department, Dr. Yasin Olum, says that since Buganda’s demands involve systems of governance that affect the whole country, they can only be solved through a referendum.
This, he says, would be beneficial to both government and the monarch.

“If Baganda’s agitations are supported by the rest of Ugandans, then the President will have no excuse to deny them [federo]. On the other hand, if the rest of Ugandans reject Buganda’s demands, then the President will have a reason not to guarantee them [their demands] and in the process isolate Buganda.”

Referring to findings of the Odoki Commission in the early 1990s that there was an overwhelming demand for federo countrywide, he says the views could have changed.
“Fifteen years is so long. As a scientist, I think you need to go back to the people and seek their views.”

He, however, doubts that the President and Mengo can agree to a referendum.
Mengo, Olum says, fears a referendum because their demands are so localised, while President Museveni “still thinks that he can settle it through negotiations… and hopes to get political capital if he is the one that solves [it].”

He warns, however, that with just a few months to the next election, it will be politically costly for President Museveni to deal with the Buganda issue alone, excluding other Ugandans, because failure will be solely blamed on him.


History Professor Fred Tanga Odoi says it will be difficult to resolve the current stand-off because like the previous ones in 1953 and 1966, it is about political power.
“They all rotate around the same issue – the locus of political power between the Kabaka and the President or colonial government… They all want to be strong power points in one country.”

No wonder, he doesn’t see a way out.
“It is difficult to guarantee all Buganda’s demands. Even if you give all of them, new ones will emerge. No government can give all that Buganda wants, even if it’s [opposition leader Kizza] Besigye or FDC who are promising federo [once] in power.”
All governments, he says, survive on divide and rule strategies. Giving in to Mengo’s demands such as federo, Tanga argues, will make them too strong a force for any government to control.
President Museveni’s Press Secretary, Tamale Mirundi, agrees.

“There is no President who can solve their problems. That’s their nature; they use politics to get what they want. My prediction is that once they fail to strike a deal with the President [Museveni], the next president will abolish that kingdom.”
Mirundi argues that ordinary Baganda are after good schools, jobs and wealth. If the government can guarantee these, Mengo will be isolated.
Veteran DP politician, Evaristo Nyanzi, 79, is not so pessimistic.
He says the federo issue can be solved through “an understanding with the rest of Uganda.”

“Mengo should negotiate with the rest of Uganda and strike an amicable understanding because they can’t go it alone.”
This understanding will erase the suspicion that other Ugandans have towards Buganda’s demands, he says.
“Buganda was a kind of federal state within Uganda under the colonial times. By virtue of this special status, Buganda had special treatment. This is actually what is troubling Uganda now. It is the cause of the problems we have today.”

Buganda’s historically privileged status was eloquently defended by Kabaka Edward Mutesa in his appeal to the United Nations in 1966, after then President Milton Obote abolished the kingdom’s federal powers.
Recalling the 1953 crisis, Mutesa said: “Sir Andrew [Cohen] insisted that I should agree to Buganda being a local government unit within a unitary Uganda. I thought this was the most unrealistic because since 1900, as a result of the Buganda Agreement of that year, this kingdom had enjoyed a special position vis-avis the rest of the country. Since that time, it had state powers which it could not be expected to lose.”

Evaristo Nyanzi reasons that it is not tenable for Buganda to regain such a privileged status within an independent Uganda.

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How Mutesa shot his way to safety

UGANDA’s 60 YEAR OLD CONFLICT (PART 5): How Mutesa shot his way to safety Print E-mail
Written by Observer Media Ltd
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 19:56
In his book, Desecration of My Kingdom, Sir Edward Mutesa vividly describes the May 24, 1966 attack on his palace and how he made his escape. Here are some extracts:

Mutesa (R) chatting with Obote

It was not yet dawn – about 5.30 in the morning – when I was awakened suddenly by the sound of gunfire: quite near, I reckoned, certainly inside the wall that surrounds my palace and grounds.

As I hurried into a shirt, some trousers and a pullover, and sat on my bed to pull on some suede boots, I tried to work out more precisely what was happening and where the shots were being fired. Somewhere beyond the garages, it seemed; perhaps 200 or 300 yards away. I strapped on a webbing belt with a heavy automatic in the holster, grabbed a carbine, and dashed into the cool, dark garden to look for the commander of the bodyguard.

Troops from the Uganda Army were attacking my palace on the orders of the Prime Minister, Dr. [Milton] Obote. So much was clear. Nor should it have been in the least surprising. We had been suspecting such a move for weeks, and I myself had been surprised when nothing happened the previous evening.

Yet I was filled with a sense of outrage now that it was happening. The Constitution allowed me a bodyguard of 300, but I only had about 120, and many of these were absent.

Each man had a Lee-Enfield rifle and we managed to get hold of three carbines, half a dozen Sterling sub-machine guns and six automatic rifles. There was, unfortunately, no hidden arsenal, though Obote said later that that was what his soldiers had called at this early hour to collect.

Photographs of this cache tried to make something of an ancient German Spandau, a machine-gun, which bad been rusting gently on my veranda for years, and my brother Henry’s ceremonial R.A.F. sword.

Nor was the palace designed as a fortress. The main gate is indefensible, and the two buildings, which are separated by gardens, are easy to approach under cover…

First man down

Mutesa (L), Mayanja Nkagi and other Buganda officials

I quickly collected a few men and we made off to the west. I had in mind a group of trees from which we could command a clearing and possibly defend one of the bottom gates, Nalongo, if it had not already been breached.

We did not get there. A light fence surrounds the garden, and suddenly we saw two or three men standing in a half-opened doorway, peering cautiously in. We dropped one and the others made off. That was the first of many unfortunate deaths I saw that day.

We made that first foray with no idea as to how many men were attacking or from which angle. Now friends approached in the half-light and told me something of what had happened and what was happening, though still we did not know how many had been sent against us.

Perhaps that was just as well, as it would scarcely have raised our spirits to know we were faced with over 1,000, odds of ten against one, with our equipment much inferior.

However, my men were the more experienced in service, and a great number of the enemy were occupied in surrounding the wall. This high brick wall encloses an area much larger than the palace and gardens.

Inside are school buildings, white bungalows with corrugated iron roofs, football pitches, many houses with mud walls and thatched roofs that were to burn easily, and above all, dividing the open, grassy spaces, plantations of banana trees.

With our knowledge of every inch of the terrain, there was enough cover, confusion and resistance for us to elude our pursuers indefinitely, deployment plans having previously been sanctioned by myself.

Treasure hunt

The Special Force that had been sent against us was not very subtle. They had foolishly used lights to burn some thatched huts just inside the wall, and, thus lit up from behind, made themselves into very easy targets.

When one lot did break through the gate called Kalala, they ran across an open sports ground to join others who had come through the main gate. A pocket of my men commanded the open ground and held up their much larger force for some time, inflicting heavy casualties.

We had done as well there as we could have hoped, and now fell back. Another entrance had been forced through the southern gate, Sabagabo, and it was those men that had awakened me. The western corner was still ours, or at least disputed throughout the action.

It was well known that I preferred to live in the old palace, which stands smaller, darker and more African behind the gleaming white European building, which is used mainly for formal functions.

For the time being, this newer palace was left alone while they closed in on the rooms I used. It began to look as if it was me personally that they wished to destroy.

I heard someone shout, “Has he a safe?” as they entered the far side, and saw through a window my papers being torn up and my filing cabinets smashed with rifle butts.

We had not the strength to counter-attack, but we took up a position amongst some eucalyptus trees, which covered Nalongo, a white wooden gate, and held on. Nobody ever came through that gate.

As the sun got up, dispersing the morning mists, our gloom increased. There seemed to be an endless follow-up supply of enemy soldiers, many of whom were occupied with destroying my rooms.

I think they believed their own stories about hidden supplies of arms, and even indulged in fanciful ideas that a king must have hoards of treasure buried beneath his palace.

I was sustained throughout the morning by anger. I had known that an attack was probable, but I had not foreseen the random, pointless quality of their violence. Huts were burned for no conceivable tactical reason and I heard the screaming of an old woman as she burned.

Kabaka shoots ‘looter’

The captain of my guard, Major Kibirige, disappeared and must have become a casualty. Once I was overwhelmed with emotion, and foolishly returned to the palace garden alone. There, I selected a looter and shot him out of honest rage. I felt calmer and somewhat uplifted as I made my way back.

Someone had loosened the horses, and they added to the atmosphere of disorder as they galloped to and fro in a frenzy of fear.

Though firing of small arms and mortars was almost continuous until midday, and though we held our position, it was getting desperate. I decided to abandon the trees and defend a cattle kraal with the same arc of fire, though it had mud walls and a thatched roof that might be fired. We were there when it started to rain.

It rained, as it can in Uganda, with a violence that made fighting impossible. For an hour visibility was reduced to a minimum and the main noise was the water thudding on to the roof and hissing in the trees.

Though the kraal would have been a useful place to hold, to save ourselves from being encircled, we decided we were not strong enough, and moved out into the rain to go a little to the north.

Many thought we had escaped at this time and it would have been an opportunity, but we were surrounded and had not prepared a route. Nor had we yet taken the decision.

At first I had thought it was to be merely a skirmish. We saw now that it was more serious than that, but still hoped that in the face of such prolonged and successful resistance the troops might call off the threat. Otherwise we hoped to resist until evening and escape in the dark.

Wife detained

Soon after the rain, a scout called for us to watch a sight which horrified me. From the palace a strange procession of women emerged, my sister and wife among other relations and maids.

I had not seen them during the fighting, but could imagine their feelings. Now they walked slowly towards the gate we were defending. I piously hoped they would stop, but they did not hear me and continued out of sight.

A moment later, there was a burst of fire and I exclaimed, “It can’t be true,” certain that they had been massacred. I am still not sure what happened, but they were allowed through and later put in prison.

As they disappeared, there was a new attack on the gate, which was already surrounded with corpses. We beat it off yet again. Our own ammunition was low and there was no indication of the troops pulling out.

Nor was there a chance of driving them away. I began to plan an escape as the decision was clearly forced. To the north the bandmaster and another group of the guard were firing gallantly,
and with their protection behind us we moved a little to the south and started to attack some vehicles which were on the road outside the wall.

For a time our attack seemed to have little effect, though we gave them all we had and their counter-fire was feeble. Then at last a truck moved off and a minute later two more disappeared. We had made that area a little too lively and now there was a gap. How long it would remain open we could only guess.

As nine of us made for the red-brick wall, there was a shout and a girl rushed up to us from the direction of the enemy. She was Katie Senoga, a kindergarten school teacher.

“What on earth are you doing?” I asked her, but there was no time to do anything but take her with us. Poor girl, she was crying and trembling all over. I remember thinking that, if she had had a gun, in her excitement she would probably have tried to kill us all.

Window of death

We wasted ten valuable minutes, trying to open a hatch in the wall. There is a tradition that no [dead] body save that of the Kabaka should leave through the palace gates, so if a commoner dies inside the walls there is this opening through which he may pass. Unfortunately, it was locked and we could not break the lock. So we had to climb.

The wall, which had seemed quite low as a defence, suddenly loomed large when we stood beneath it. It is in fact ten or twelve feet high. Luckily, the bodyguard are trained to scale such an obstacle, and by standing on each other’s shoulders we could haul ourselves on to the top, still slippery from the rain.

Speed was essential. I threw my rifle down, and as I jumped I eagerly bent over to reach it. It was a mistake I was to regret every day for a month. Landing unevenly, I dislodged a bone in my back from its place and I felt a sharp pain.

There was no time even to swear then, and we ran across the road into a plantation of banana trees, horribly aware how conspicuous we had been on the wall and unsure whether we had been seen.

Several bodies had been left on the ground, but there seemed to be no living opposition. For a moment we waited, with the rain still dripping from the leaves and the irregular firing behind us.

In less than five minutes, the most curious incident of the whole escape took place. Two taxis driving without particular urgency came into sight. After a momentary qualm as to whether they were full of soldiers. I waved them down.

They behaved as if it was the most normal event in the world, and if this was because we were armed to the teeth, they gave no sign.

We clambered in and asked them to drive us a couple of miles to the White Fathers near the Roman Catholic cathedral. Huddled on top of one another, we felt far safer, though in fact we must have been very lucky not to have been stopped. The Fathers received us, calmly accepting the unfamiliar clatter of rifles on the refectory table with aplomb.

The Kabaka eventually escaped by walking and hitch-hiking for over a month to Burundi through Congo. He later continued to England where he died on November 21, 1969.